Can my body really go out of style?

Can my body really go out of style?

Last week, Vogue announced that cleavage is no longer in style. Apparently, much like Apple Bottom jeans or boots with fur, female body parts are capable of being in- or out- of style.

Vogue writers attempted to empower women by encouraging fashions that are not overtly sexual and centered on cleavage, but fell flat by focusing the article on anatomy instead of style. In doing so, the writers echoed the same oppressive message that many women are tired of hearing: female bodies are meant to be seen, shamed, and changed, rather than lived in and enjoyed by their occupants.

I am a woman who has grappled with an eating disorder since my teen years. I was once active on pro-anorexia websites. Rejecting breasts and cleavage is nothing new- it has been the mantra of people who hate their bodies for as long as I can remember.

As a budding teenager, I despised every ounce of fat on my body, and my breasts were not immune to my scrutiny. I saw my rejection of fat mirrored in every piece of fashion media I could get my hands on, with willow-thin, flat models flaunting clothes that my body would surely bulge out of. After years of unlearning the ideas I subscribed to on pro-anorexia websites, I now have maintained a healthy and consistent weight for over a year and no longer suffer from disordered eating.

But I can still taste the shame that pro-ana websites made me feel when I read Pro-anorexia websites tell young women that there are myriad ways in which their bodies should be changed. If a girl still has their period, it is because they have too much body fat to suffer from amenorrhea. If a girl has large breasts, it really just reflects how much fat they still have. Girls are works in progress. Their bodies always have room for improvement.

With what I have learned on my journey to mental and physical health, I propose that women reject the standards imposed by the fashion industry and pro-anorexia websites. We need to value physical and mental health over appearance.

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4 thoughts on “Can my body really go out of style?

  1. I think you’re definitely right when you tell women to reject the “norms,” essentially, of fashion. Not only because it may have effects on their mental health, but because it’s no ones business who wears what.
    When you start to think of it from a standpoint that, it’s someones job to be sitting there and deciding what’s “in” and what’s “out,” it really means nothing. It’s just the opinion of others and if you wish to show cleavage or not, I don’t think anyone should be controlling that but yourself.
    The faster everyone begins to disregard the norms that have been instilled, the happier we’ll all be.

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  2. I think this is a really vulnerable piece and it’s very powerful too. Drawing on your own experience makes this deeply personal but draws on the importance of this conversation. Women are always subjected to the most extreme scrutiny. How we look or dress, how much make up we do or don’t wear, and especially how our bodies look. One thing that’s disheartening is that women are the biggest perpetrators of these standards and judgments. The “cleavage is out” article probably passed over many women’s desks and still got approved for print. And the competition between women for who has the better body or outfit is exhausting. Women need to stop competing with each other, because it’s a huge distraction from the real inequalities we face.

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  3. I commend you for opening up and sharing your personal experiences regarding eating disorders. The conversation of a woman’s body seems to be timeless, both for positive and unfortunately negative reasons. I think the idea of “what’s in and what’s out” as a whole is truly unimportant – women should be able to rock that fedora without Vogue telling them it’s “out.” But for Vogue to say cleavage is “out,” is a whole new level of superficiality. Like you, I am tired of people (and companies) telling me what my body should look like or what I should wear. Thank you for calling attention to this important topic.

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  4. Thank you for opening up so much in this piece. I know that having an eating disorder is vastly different from being in danger of having an eating disorder, but my past experiences are why I empathized with you. I HATE how the media I’ve consumed while growing up forces me to constantly second guess my thoughts on my body. And I hate that how I was raised to view my body once made me constantly think of where I stand in regards to celebrities who not only have a different biological makeup than me but also have more time and resources to make their bodies into something that others in society approve of/covet.

    Having these sort of standards are ridiculous. The idealization of certain body parts “nice boobs, nice butt, nice legs” is always going to change, and honestly it’s just too stressful to keep up with it. Society need to stop telling healthy women to achieve some sort of ideal or that they need to change themselves in some way.

    And it all starts with encouraging young girls to never equate healthy with being skinny.

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